Starting Out

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Shaylaslucky, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. Shaylaslucky

    Shaylaslucky New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    California to learn but will eventually live in Or
    Hello everybody, I am new to this site. And new to this way of life. I have dedicated the next 4-10 years of my life to saving money, planning, and learning how to build my own homestead. I plan to do it in Oregon or Washington. I have never spoke to anybody who has any experience in this and was curious about an estimate of how much money is generally needed to start something like this. Also, maybe some hints about how much acreage is needed per person. And how much extra income is needed at the bare minimum. Any help or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank You! Love Shayla
     
  2. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    Shayla,

    Welcome to the board and the "life". I think you will find folks all over the place as to what they need and want. A lot of it has to do with comfort level and lifestyle choices.

    When you ask how much acreage is needed per person, I think it will depend on what you want to do and how self sufficient you wish to be. It will also depend on the land you ultimately get. You will also need to adjust to the land you ultimately purchase. Properties are like people...each has a personality.

    Some people like myself are happy with a large garden, fruit trees and a few specialty plantings for our own purposes. Then we focus on a handful of crops (we raise bees and are processing black walnuts) that we can sell. Some view themselves more as farmers and others view themselves as homesteaders.

    If you aren't already growing things for yourself, you might consider that as a starting point. Build your skillsets and build your tool inventory.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Mike
     

  3. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,845
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    How much money you need depends partly on your lifestyle and partly on the cost of taxes and utilities. My sister in the state of New York pays about $7000 jost for property taxes on an ordinary home, while my Mother in Law in Arkansas pays just $800 for hers.

    And, some people are happy to stay in home and putter, while others want a newer truck, a tractor, and a couple of nights out a week.

    My own family loves the lifestyle but we do not really want to be entirely self-sufficient. We buy most (not all) of our groceries because we like variety. We LIKE fresh fruit in winter and eggs even when the hens are moulting. And sure, I have enough blackberries to sell and to freeze but I am terrible at raising strawberries. They are too small and helpless. We buy strawberries. I don't raise bananas in snowy Kansas, either, but we do enjoy them. We buy our meat, too, because we live within city limits.

    So, I enjoy our own apples, pears, blackberries, cherries, eggs, honey, and garden veggies. I (rather regretfully) buy the rest. DH PREFERS to work in town, so his paycheck keeps us going.

    I am glad you have found us, and I look forward to hearing about more of your plans.
     
  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,665
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2004
    Hi, Shayla, and welcome. The amount of money and land you need are entirely up to you. Some of us start with no money and no land! Others are better off, which obviously makes it easier, but it's possible to start from where you are, no matter where that is! :)

    Examples: there used to be a lady on here (and maybe she still is) who lived in a trailer park. She had potted plants all around her trailer. I think she even grew some things on the roof. She was growing almost all her families veggies and some fruit in that tiny space. With a shed she could probably have even gotten some rabbits and raised part of their meat.

    In town on a small lot, people raise vegetables, have dwarf fruit trees and berries around the perimeter, rabbits in the garage, a few chickens or ducks in a small portable pen, and maybe a beehive or two in a back corner. Add a little greenhouse and they are able to grow much of their own food right there in town.

    Get out of town on an acre or two and you can do all of the above plus keep a couple of dairy goats, add a few larger trees such as nut trees, and grow things that take space like potatoes, pumpkins, and corn.

    The more land you add, the more you'll be able to do. Cattle and horses need at least three or four acres each if you are raising your own hay, at least an acre and a half if you are just grazing them. If you are going to raise pigs, you want to make sure you have them where the smell won't bother anyone. If you have enough land for a pond you can raise some wetlands plants for food and feed, have fish and perhaps crawfish in the pond, and swimming room for your ducks and geese.

    What I suggest is start by doing whatever you can with the space you have right now. When you are ready to move, buy as much land as you can afford, keeping in mind that you will need a good water supply, some land suitable for gardening even if it needs to be cleared, and good sun exposure. Then start slowly. Make sure everything is ready before you bring animals home. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make, and I've done it myself. And don't try to tackle too many things at once. If you've never raised animals before, don't try to get started with chickens, pigs, sheep, dairy goats, and bees all in the same year! You will go crazy with the learning curve and you and the animals will all suffer. I would suggest starting with a garden and a small flock of chickens or ducks for eggs. Then slowly grow from there. And take time to enjoy your new life! It is really easy to get buried under all the work there is to do when getting a new home and homestead started. Some things are time-critical, like getting things planted on time, or milking morning and night if you have dairy animals. But some things will still be there tomorrow if you take a day off now and then (but don't do it too often, or you'll never get anywhere).

    Kathleen
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,845
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Whatever you do in life, there will ALWAYS be a learning curve. Starting where you are has the benefit of getting SOME of the mistakes out of the way.

    Besides, isn't December just about the perfect month to grow salad greens in California? Unless, of course, you are in the mountains. Even then you MIGHT baby them through if you cover them on frosty nights.
     
  6. JanO

    JanO Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    854
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Welcome Shayla,

    Glad that you found us. This certainly is the place to come ask questions and get direct answers. I can't stress enough how important it is to do what you can now. Like it's already been mentioned, make some of your mistakes now instead of later.

    I'm also going to recommend that you get Carla Emerys book, The Encyclopedia of Country Living. It's an awsome collection of information that you will find to be invaluable as you prepare for and start your homestead.

    Jan
     
  7. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    As suggested already, it's what you make of it and go with a starting point to what you can manage or tolerate.
    I decided by living in town also to buy a property outside the town limits of an acre cleared for garden. The other 24 acres bush were not used on an odd lot. The small house there was basically unlivable, but had electricity service and a small cistern to pump some crude water which had to be careful in summer to not go dry if it didn't rain for a couple weeks. I learned lots from keeping that first cheap property about keeping 2 bee hives that were destroyed by bear, and a super invasion of tent caterpillars one year that stripped most leafy vegitation from the garden. Beans were toast by the rampant woodchuck clearing a row in a night, and the viscous attack by a muskrat that came up the drainage ditch and took a bite upon my miniature schnauzer minding his own business one evening. Crows took up residence with the ducks and chickens, which was an odd arrangement and taught a rooster to 'caw'.
    Nevertheless, the abundance of harvest in squash, corn (luckily the racoons up the road didn't notice this :eek:), tomatoes, cabbage and other vegetables allowed some selling at the fall farmer's market. It paid for the seed basically and we had a lot for processing and storing.
    Keeping a full time job was essential for this to happen, and afford the intital property to begin with. It was a 'hobby' which then proceeded to a 'lifestyle' by a move to a country property with a small house that was made bigger. From there got into keeping chickens for eggs, khaki and muscovy ducks for meat and eggs, turkeys for eggs and selling, and much gardening again when time allowed.
    After the divorce, I'm trying to regain consciousness about all this, but I'm probably not going to give up. :no: I'de have no other way, but to live rural if it's up to me. The quiet and clean air alone makes it worth it, as well as giving joy to the nature around me.
     
  8. goggleye57

    goggleye57 Active Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Location:
    Indiana
    I don't know what your job skills are. In many of the attractive and affordable areas to homesteaders jobs aren't in an overabundance. If you don't have easy to sell skills it might be as important to develop those abilities that most likely would be scarce in rural areas. You can't stay there long if you can't make a living. For example an licensed practical nurse could find a job in almost any county in the country. You probably won't make a living on just your homestead without a great deal of experience and a long time of frugal living. Aim to have a good life in the country, do what you enjoy, We will always be dependent on each other.